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Poster: groovernut Date: Mar 1, 2010 1:44pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Another Anti-Taping Story!

Cool, loved vinyl. Vinyl boot legs where even cooler. What year did they give in and just let the recording happen?

I was just listening to some 90's show (shudder) that had unbelievable high quality for AUG it was better than the SB. The show was not that good and I moved on. Obviously folks had recording studio type equipment up in there. it was a stereo FOB of some sorts...

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Mar 1, 2010 6:51pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Another Anti-Taping Story!

I think they gave in to the tapers in '76, although their feeling was probably more of ambivalence than support. "Heck, we can't stop them, they just keep coming back...."

I'll quote an earlier post I made on the anti-taping subject:

Although early audience tapes might be disappointingly few and poor-quality compared to later years, we should remember that taping was not easy in those days - most tapers did not have good equipment, and the band was not taper-friendly at all. One old taper says, "In those days, audience taping was a clandestine affair, attempted with really piss poor equipment smuggled in backpacks or under coats--and often the mics were kept hidden in the same places. Fingers felt the cassettes or reels for time (watches helped), and there was no taper section, so what you heard was what you got."
Taping could be risky, too! On the 5-16-70 recording we can hear Sam Cutler shutting the tapers down; and during the 12-31-70 show, the band directed a spotlight to a microphone:
"There's bootleggers among us! Let's find out who these people are - follow the cords from those microphones folks - turn that spotlight out there on that microphone - aha, it's going down - Underground Records, Incorporated - find this one for $10 - you oughta put it in a brown paper bag." (As a result, the tapers only got the first few songs of the show - they probably had to turn over the reel in their deck.)
Of course the band's attitudes were inconsistent - everyone remembers the moment during 8-6-71 when Weir helpfully tells the tapers to move back in order to get a better recording! But that was an unusual exception.

This is one story (from the new 3/19/73 first-set AUD) that helps explain why there aren't more good AUDs from the early years:
"This was recorded by Dan H. using Adam G.'s microphone. Dan was very close to stage. About halfway through the show,one of the band members (I believe Bobby or Phil) pointed to Dan and a member of the Dead's crew came into the audience, grabbed the mic and cut the cord. He would only give the mic back if Dan handed over the tapes. Dan handed him all his blanks and what was in the machine at the time, as well as one or two with music on them. He managed to keep this one and the NRPS opener."

There are lots of stories from '70-74 of the Dead's crew stopping every recording they saw - cutting cords, confiscating tapes, smashing tapedecks, etc. Bear was very hostile to tapers, and the rest of the crew shared his attitude. As he said, "I wasn't in favor of tapers....I didn't tolerate it. [The first time] was in '69, we caught a guy in the Hollywood Palladium with a reel-to-reel tape recorder, and we said, 'That's not cool, you don't have permission to do that.' We confiscated the tapes."

A couple more examples, from later years:
Les Kippel, at Waterbury 9/23/72: "We were in the hotel room listening to our tape, when there was a knock at the door and Owsley barged in. He ran over to the tape machine - 'You cannot record the shows!' And he took the tape out of the machine and barged out of the room."
Rob Bertrando, at Santa Barbara 5/25/74: "My machine & tapes were confiscated, so no good tapes remain of that show. Ramrod came off the stage, ran to the mikes, and held a knife to the cables saying, 'Turn over the equipment or I cut your cords.'"
Jerry Moore was also busted at the Boston 6/28/74 show but managed to switch reels in the argument and handed over some blank reels - this was a trick the experienced tapers learned. Les Kippel was one taper who was organized enough to have separate people bring the tapedeck, microphones, and tapes: "We'd sit in a cluster, and friends would always protect the person who was taping.... If an usher or crew member started approaching us, we'd immediately yank the tape out and put in a phony tape. Usually the only thing they'd do was take the tape, cut the microphone cable, or take the batteries."

So in the pre-'74 days it's worth remembering that for every AUD we have, there were probably two or three more attempts that either failed, got busted, or turned out to be such poor quality they were hardly worth hearing - or, worse, were made by tapers who never traded or copied their tapes. Until after '72 or so, the idea of finding "Dead traders" was pretty much science-fiction for most people, so a lot of early tapes disappeared since they couldn't be distributed. What we have are a few lucky survivals, and it's no coincidence that most of the well-circulated AUDs were made by just a few people who happened to be at the center of some trading ring.

But a couple things happened - one, this kind of experience didn't stop the same tapers from coming back to show after show, often arguing with the crew. Not only that, but with the band's return in '76 came a whole flood of tapers (by then there was a much wider tape-trading scene). So it was simply going to be too much hassle to keep busting everybody.
Plus, Healy was taper-friendly, so in the late '70s when he ran the soundboard, he usually permitted taping. Unfortunately, he got very annoyed when a whole flock of tapers would park right in front of him with their forest of mikes, bickering about the best spot, etc. So in '84 tapers were officially "banished" to the taper's section (behind Healy), which was meant to control taping somewhat. This spot was very unpopular with serious tapers, who still tried to sneak up front where they weren't allowed.

Venue security was a whole separate hassle for tapers - no matter what the band's policy, they still had to sneak their stuff past the guards. Plus, videotaping was never allowed by the band.

Anyway, back to the early '70s - the bootleg issue did exist - while there were hardly any tape traders, there were plenty of bootleg sellers, & you could find vinyl boots in record stores & music-magazine ads. (I was a happy buyer of many vinyl boots myself, in a later day...)
So it's kind of understandable that when the Dead saw a microphone out in the crowd, they didn't think, "aha, a tape-trader" (a breed that barely existed), but "bootleggers!"
I still think it's a lousy policy though, attacking the most ardent fans, & am ever so glad they gave that up.

This post was modified by light into ashes on 2010-03-02 02:51:26

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Poster: deadpolitics Date: Mar 2, 2010 10:31am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Another Anti-Taping Story!

Thank for the in-depth historical analysis!

It makes sense that in the early days they were still stuck in the record industry mentality. They were not yet playing huge venues and the financial success of Workingman's Dead and American Beauty and most importantly Live/Dead affirmed the attitude that they should control everything they put out because it was profitable. Live/Dead especially because it was a live recording that sold well.

I bet that circulation of poor quality recordings may have also been a concern at some point. Could circulation of shitty recordings be detrimental to popularity and wide-spread acceptance? Although a lot of people here appreciate audience recordings, when I play them for casual listeners they tend to get annoyed.

After the hiatus they returned as a lean touring machine, leaving the financial burden of the Wall of Sound behind. As you said, the tapers were out in full force and they were no longer able to stop them. They also realized that the audience recordings were most definitely not hurting the band financially, as they continued to bring in lots of money from ticket sales.

Aha! The realization: fans do more promoting for the band than they could ever do themselves!

It only took them 10 years to come around to this point of view, even with irregularities such as Bob Weir's comments on 8/6.

BUT more importantly than taping policy is DEDICATION to excellence. This policy would not have worked if the produce they delivered night after night was not consistently a magical, dynamic, and emotionally uplifting experience. It would not have worked without their dedication to high fidelity sound reproduction in their PAs.

It shows that if you are truly committed to your work, then there is no ego-trip about people judging you based on constant analysis of your performance. There is nothing to be scared of if you believe in yourself.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 1, 2010 7:34pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Another Anti-Taping Story!

Hey LiA, my little thought provoking rant got inserted up above, looking like I was "attacking you" but not my intent at all, esp as we share similar viewpoints it seems to me...anyhow, it's up there if you care to consider my thoughts as to what we really need to know to get at a more reasoned analysis of this complicated biz...

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Poster: Finster Baby Date: Mar 1, 2010 1:51pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Another Anti-Taping Story!

Not sure when they gave in unofficially.
The first official tapers section came to be in the fall of 84. Obviously it was well before that time frame that they proabably realized they couldn't stop everyone that was taping.

And, as you say, some of the tapers had some very sophisticated equipment. especially in the later years when things started to go digital.

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Mar 2, 2010 5:46am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Another Anti-Taping Story!

1984? seriously that late? I wasn't really in the know but I'm sure my buddies were swapping tapes with full approval of the band way earlier than that.